Lucky/unlucky? A Tale of two Temperaments.

Temperaments show our basic nature and how we greet the world and in turn how the world greets us.

Our temperament is calculated using the Ascendant, the Moon sign and planets ruling them as well as the season we were born in.* How and when we entered this world in other words.

Two contrasting life experiences illustrate this, Maurice Messegue and Dr John Christopher, one a sanguine temperament, the other melancholic. They were both famous herbalists but had very different experiences practicing their professions.**

Maurice Messegue (b.1921) was a French herbalist born in a beautiful region of southern France. He grew up walking the highways and byways of this gorgeous countryside with his herbalist father, collecting the local herbs who treated friends and neighbours. In his books, he describes a bucolic childhood with his herbalist father. but when he was 11 his father died and his life changed. He was sent to boarding school and was friendless and lonely (the worst fate for a sanguine, they are really sociable). But sanguines are the ultimate positive thinkers and he later wrote he recalled those walks with his father to cheer himself up.

One experience shows the ‘luck’ of the sanguine. When the Nazi’s invaded France they rounded up the young men to go to Germany to do forced labour. Put on the train, Messegue saw the door on the other side of the carriage was open so he simply walked through and escaped. He joined the Maquis the French Resistance. Sanguines make their own luck, they are quick thinkers, freedom-lovers and audacious. His quick thinking doubtless saved his life, few men returned from Germany.

After the war, he trained as a teacher (a classic sanguine profession). One of his students fell ill and he treated him following his father’s methods. The treatment was a success and soon he was seeing fifteen patients a week. His headmaster demanded that he stop, but sanguines are headstrong and they will do what they want. Messegue resigned and moved to Nice and set up practice there.

Dr John Christopher, another famous herbalist (b.1909) had a hard start in life, many Melancholics do. He was born to European parents who left him in an orphanage in Utah. He was later adopted. He suffered with poor health as a child, had very painful rheumatoid arthritis and had to walk with a stick or use a wheelchair. His health was so bad, doctors said he would be dead before he was thirty.

After military service he studied naturopathy and herbal medicine in several collages in the USA and Canada. Melancholics are students and deep thinkers, they often lack confidence and so over prepare for all eventualities. Contrast this with Messegue who used his intuition and did not need certificates to feel confident to practice. Self-belief is fundamental to Sanguine. Dr Christopher needed the title (doctor) and much training to feel confident enough to set up his practice.

In 1953 Dr Christopher set up the School of Natural Healing in Utah. Melancholics love to build, organise and structure their lives, they especially love the public status running an institution involves. He took on the title doctor to give him the gravitas he desired. He became one of the most famous herbalists of his day and created over fifty formulas which are still in use today. His son now runs his school, melancholics love to create dynasties.

Messegue, by contrast used his Sanguine luck to make his way. He treated the famous French actress Mistinguette, who did not pay him but instead introduced him to her rich and famous friends. Messegue claims to have treated, King Farouk of Egypt, Winston Churchill, Jean Cocteau among others. Sanguines do love the glitter and glamour of the elites. They have great charm and are genial and friendly.

It is in the matter of the law that we see clearly the difference in their temperaments.

Messegue was prosecuted for practicing medicine illegally, the law is ruled by Jupiter the sanguine planet. He went to court over twenty times. The publicity these cases generated only served to increase his fame and reputation (publicity is second nature to sanguines). At his last court case he claimed 20,000 letters were sent to the judge in his defence, the superpower of sanguines is to turn defeat into victory.

Dr Christopher, by contrast had a melancholic experience of the law. He was also repeatedly harassed and prosecuted for practicing medicine illegally. But unlike Messegue he did not have powerful friends to protect him. Or perhaps his melancholy nature did not attract help. Melancholics can be suspicious and critical and judgemental which does not warm people to them. This makes them more susceptible to attack, after all, who likes being judged or criticised? Christopher spent many nights in jail. The Utah legislature passed a law aimed directly at him, so you might argue his pessimism and suspicion were justified. This law effectively stopped him practicing as the punishment was an indefinite jail sentence. Melancholics are often highly successful as they never give up (arguably the chief component of success in any field). Christopher instead taught and lectured throughout the USA and reached a far wider audience and attained the fame and recognition he sought.

What about they way they practiced herbal medicine?

Messegue had an emotional relationship with the plants he worked with.

‘Look at lavender or nettles or mint. They are modest looking plants. One could take them as symbols of humility. And yet these three plants alone can deal with as many troubles as can a family medicine-chest’

He mainly worked with hand and foot baths, so a gentle, sensual medicine.

Christopher’s treatments were exactly the opposite, austere, severe and one might argue drastic. Melancholics often have a disgust of the physical body or the need to ‘whip it into shape’. He advocated purges, strict naturopathic diets, fasting, and ‘heroic’ doses of his medicines. Reputedly he took three tablespoonfuls of cayenne in water each morning! Not for the fainthearted. Christopher was a deeply religious Christian, Saturn the planet for melancholics rules Abrahamic religions.

One might argue that the temperament affects life experiences or life experiences affect the temperament. Certainly, the lenses we look through into the world affect how it responds to us.

I will be giving a lecture on Herbs, Astrology and Health, this Thursday at Aquarius Severn. 19.30 pm on Zoom. Booking (payment by donation) here

You can buy the book here

Aeon are offering a 20% discount for attendees at my talk.

* The book gives the method for determining the temperament.

I will be speaking on the Four humours at the Power of Plants Festival. July 13th-16th. Details here

** Next time I will discuss the astrology of both men.

If you would like a Medical astrology reading, or a natal astrology reading, details are here or email me directly at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: